By Tim Woods:
In Park-e-Laleh, the families picnic on the lawn in between games of football, while couples lie beneath the trees, a smartphone in one hand, a cigarette in the other. Sights you’d expect to find in any park… except perhaps one in the centre of Tehran.
Iranians in the capital are quick to tell you that their country is not like we in the West think. But those perceptions are changing quickly, it seems; during an afternoon of pre-trip Googling, the reviews describing a modern, friendly, welcoming Iran far outweighed the negatives. Maybe their perceptions of our perceptions are out-dated.
Had I expected raving religious fanatics and angry mobs burning the Stars and Stripes? No, but then nor did I expect to come across the scent of marijuana from behind the park’s bushes. The Islamic Republic can still throw up surprises.